Some of the 87,000 new agents the Democrats propose to hire at Internal Revenue Service might have additional firepower.
House Democrats passed the final tax and spending bill, dubbed the Inflation Reduction Act. This bill, which included a double-sized IRS and 87,000 additional agents, would boost enforcement.
The IRS had an arsenal of 4,600 guns as of two years ago. OpenTheBooks, a government watchdog organisation.
In the past decade, two federal investigations found that IRS agents were not adequately trained and were prone to misusing the weapons they had. An armed IRS raid on nonviolent taxpayers was raised as a concern at a Senate hearing almost 25 years ago.
Democrats’ bill, which the Senate passed Sunday, awaits the signature of President Joe Biden should it clear the House as early as Friday.
The legislation, which unwinds from 2023 through 2031, would devote $80 billion to expanding the IRS and boosting tax revenue to pay for Democrats’ green energy subsidies and other pet projects.
Americans for Tax Reform, a conservative group opposing the legislation, has compiled information about the IRS from media reports and government sources.
Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado raised concerns about arming IRS Agents during the House floor debate on Friday.
“This bill has new IRS agents and they are armed, and the job description tells them that they need to be required to carry a firearm and expect to use deadly force if necessary,” Boebert said. “Excessive taxation is theft. You are using the power of the federal government for armed robbery on the taxpayers.”
Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.) suggested that no IRS agents be armed.
“The idea that they are armed—I know that Ms. Boebert would like everybody to be armed, but that’s not what IRS agents do,” Yarmuth said. “I would implore my Republican colleagues to cut out the scare tactics. Quit making things up.”
In a posted job opening for a special agent, the IRS specified that applicants should be “willing and able to participate in arrests, execution of search warrants, and other dangerous assignments,” and able to carry “a firearm and be willing to use deadly force, if necessary.”
After sparking some controversy amid the proposed expansion of the agency, the IRS deleted “willing to use deadly force” from the job description.
The IRS asked questions to the Treasury Department about whether the arsenal would increase with the increasing number of personnel.
The Treasury Department did not immediately respond to The Daily Signal’s request for comment for this report.
Here are four things you need to know about the Internal Revenue Service (and its weapons).
1. IRS Guns and Ammo
The current IRS workforce comprises 78,661 full-time employees, so Democrats’ legislation, if passed as written, would more than double the agency’s employees.
A 2020 report from Open the Books, titled “The Militarization of U.S. Executive Agencies,” shows that the IRS Criminal Investigation Division has a stockpile of 4,600 guns.
According to the report, the firearms include 3,282 pistols (621 shotguns), 539 rifles (539 rifles), 15 fully automatic firearms and four revolvers.
The Government Accountability Office, which is a federal watchdog, is available. reportedThe IRS had 3.1 millions rounds of ammunition for pistols, revolvers and other purposes in 2018.
The GAO report stated that the tax agency had 1.4million rounds of ammunition to rifles, 367.750 shotgun rounds, 56,000 rounds for automatic weapons, and 1.4 million rounds for rifles.
2. Armed Agents ‘Not Properly Trained’
The IRS’s National Criminal Investigation Training Academy has the responsibility to implement firearms training and a related qualification program nationwide.
However, IRS agents assigned to the Criminal Investigation Division regularly failed to stay up to date with training or to report incidents of improper firearms use, according to a 2018 report from the Treasury Department’s inspector general for tax administration.
The inspector general’s report notes that “there is no national level review of firearms training records to ensure that all special agents meet the qualification requirements.”
“Special agents not properly trained in the use of firearms could endanger the public, as well as their fellow special agents, and expose the IRS to possible litigation over injuries or for damages,” the report says.
The minimum score required for qualification is 75% on the firing range. However, the inspector general found that the IRS did not have documentation to prove that its agents had met the standards.
The report says that 79 of the 459 special agents in the agency’s long gun cadre failed to meet standard qualification requirements. Further, the IRS cannot provide information on whether 1,500 special agent were trained in tactical gear proficiency.
In fiscal year 2016, the inspector general’s report determined, the IRS Criminal Investigations Division “did not maintain documented evidence that 145 out of 2,126 special agents met the firearm standards established by CI [Criminal Investigations] and therefore were not qualified law enforcement officers.”
3. More unintended discharges than intended
The poor firearms training for IRS agents has led to more accidental firings than intentional firings, according to a separate inspector general’s report from 2012.
“Having the availability of deadly force puts hiring so many new agents into perspective,” Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, told The Daily Signal.
The inspector general for tax administration “found they fired their guns more times by accident than on purpose,” Norquist said. “I’m not sure if that’s good or bad.”
Poor training was not a new problem. 2012 reportSimilar issues were found by the inspector general with firearms training.
“If there is insufficient oversight, special agents in possession of firearms who are not properly trained and qualified could endanger other special agents and the public,” the report says.
The 2012 report did not only show that IRS agents fired weapons, but also showed that they were firing them. by accidentHowever, the agency kept details about accidental discharges secretive and used more than one intention to do so.
“There were a total of eight firearm discharges classified as intentional use of force incidents and 11 discharges classified as accidental during FYs 2009 through 2011,” the report says.
And, the inspector general’s report continues, “we found that four accidental discharges were not properly reported.”
It says that“the accidental discharges may have resulted in property damage or personal injury.”
However, the public report removes four references to unreported accidental firearms discharges.
4. IRS History of Armed Raids
1998 saw the establishment of the Senate Finance Committee. held investigative hearingsInquiry into IRS abuses featuring testimony from a Virginia restaurant proprietor
The owner of the restaurant claimed that drug-sniffing dogs and armed IRS agents broke into his restaurant at breakfast and demanded that customers get out.
According to the restaurant owner, agents took his cash registers as well as records. He returned to his home to discover that his door had been opened and that his residence was being raided.
Oklahoma tax preparer testified in a similar manner, saying that 15 armed IRS agents had visited his office and harassed his clients.
The owner of a Texas oil company recounted that agents came to his office and told employees: “Remove your hands from the keyboards and back away from the computers. And remember, we’re armed!”
In each instance, the agents came up empty-handed.
The Washington Post reported at the time that Democrat and Republican lawmakers alike expressed dismay, and that the Clinton administration’s IRS commissioner, Charles O. Rossotti, promised an investigation of such actions.
At a separate hearing that year before the same Senate committee, Treasury Department’s inspector general, Harry G. Patsalides, told senatorsThe IRS had accepted car thefts and anonymous bullying. It promoted an agent accused in sexual harassment and allowed agents to conduct raids on nonviolent taxpayers.
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